Entrepreneurs and our insatiable GREED

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Have you ever….

  • Tapped a line of credit or 2nd mortgage so you could give your employees their paycheck?
  • Paid off all your vendors and creditors, even though it meant canceling a long-awaited vacation?
  • Heard about someone in need and helped them out, even though you knew you would eventually end up borrowing the money – you didn’t have it but you gave anyway because it was the right thing to do?

With that in mind….

…When’s the last time you turned on CNN and heard an encouraging story about business owners doing good in the world?

When’s the last time you heard somebody in the media or education system say, “We need to build up entrepreneurs, because new businesses are foundation of our communities” ?

For all those who assume us money-grubbing entrepreneurs are driven by greed, selfishness and ego, let me share with you the results of a study by the Center for Data Analysis and the Heritage Foundation:

Charitable Giving by Household Income, based on IRS data:

Income Class Entrepreneurs Non-Entrepreneurs















Average 2.53% 1.27%

Looks like entrepreneurs are TWICE as generous as everyone else. ESPECIALLY the ones with low incomes.

What is "80" and what is "20" for your business right now? Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the highest compound interest on your time and money!

Why is that? What’s going on here?

It’s real simple. Most people only understand scarcity.

Entrepreneurs understand abundance.

My experience of entrepreneurs is we overwhelmingly tend to take care of everybody else before we worry about ourselves.

My friend, if you tapped every resource to pay everyone fairly, and you went to bed not knowing how tomorrow’s bills were going to get paid, then at least you had faith in the goodness of providence and the power of imagination and resourcefulness to find a solution.

THIS is why people in the modern world have three meals a day and microwave ovens and beds to sleep in and health care and straight teeth and computers and movies and modern music.

Because… somebody had faith in the power of ingenuity. They dreamed and schemed and innovated and gave until it hurt. Believing that somehow, somewhere, success would show up when it was most needed.

None of us can ever predict when or how solution to some vexing problem will present itself. We just have faith that it will.

I don’t know what problem you face today, but I know that one of two things is true:

1) Someone somewhere has already solved it, or
2) The ability to solve it WILL be given to you

Most of all I want to salute you in pursuing a journey that most people never even have the courage to undertake.

When you find the success you seek, you deserve it.

The talking heads on TV may not appreciate us. But we appreciate each other. And I appreciate you.

Seize the Day.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

93 Comments on “Entrepreneurs and our insatiable GREED”

  1. Hi Perry, I know that I know that you actually care! I Really look up to you, I haven’t ever made a dime online but I have the BALLS to say it and to tell you the truth I am NOT I repeat NOT giving up Period! I WILL Succeed! Yes
    I would like anything that you would send me but I’m getting off of all of them other so-called Guru’s list that I’ve spent thousands of dollars on and get this the shit I bought from them in the 1st place, they keep sending me other courses that probably ain’t worth the price of the paper it’s wrote on & wanting me to spend more Money with them! Ain’t that just NUTS ? Some of the Guru’s that I’m talking about and I’m not mentioning any names are suppose to Be so called Good Guys ( NOT ). If you would can you elaborate on that a little Perry ?

  2. Great article as usual Perry, you seem to have the knack of getting right to the issue everytime.

  3. The entrepreneur has always been the backbone of civilization. They have formed the foundation of everything that people take for granted.

    Think outside the box.

    Thanks Perry

  4. Perry,

    How appropriate you wrote this today, brother. Just shared with my team today everything I’ve done during this re-inventing stage of our business to make sure they get paid and we continue to progress forward.

    Entrepreneurs also don’t ever wait for, or expect a thank you. They serve without need for someone’s approval or motivation to continue. We just do. But it sure is nice that fellow entrepreneurs can look each other in the eye and recognize what each other does to keep the wheels in motion and know each is generous for the common good of men and women.

  5. Thank you for acknowledging & sharing what should be said way more often. From one entrepreneur to another (and every entrepreneur reading this) I appreciate you all as well.

    Terrific post!

    Josh :-)

  6. A great post Perry.

    I`m another John with a wife from Thailand and now in the UK. We are both fighting back with our own new business ventures all on borrowed money. We are determined to suceed and posts like this are real encouragement. Thank you.

  7. Thanks, Perry.

    Great post.

    Strange how people dance around the question of God being the provider.

    Giving comes directly from God and the Bible.

    If you want to reap a harvest, where is the seed that you have planted?

    It should not be a question of getting because one has given, but giving out of plain obedience, and then the blessings and miracles flow.

    Ask me. 12 yrs ago my ex wife took my business, house, the whole works, in a very expensive divorce. She left me with enough money for rent and food for a month. I started my current business with no money and 11 yrs 10 months later it is still growing and prospering. And I gave all the time, even if it was a few cents to someone that was worse off than I was. Even though I could not afford it.I was just being obedient. I did not expect anything in return, but I received by the buckets full.

    Give and in the same measure as you have given shall you receive.

  8. Dear Mr. Marshall,

    I am writing to ask you about Mr. Livingston and whether or not you feel comfortable recommending him and his marketing tactics. I really admire the work you do and I hope that I am wrong about Mr. Livingston because you recommend him. I received an email from Mr. Livingston’s company Psy Tech regarding a product which he longer offers and has not offered for months. I know because I checked my past received emails and found another email for the same product, in exactly the same way, dated three months earlier. The product was for discovering a niche to sell in and was advertised at $37. However, when you get to the bottom of the email someone had very lazily added a box stating that the product was no longer available but if you followed the link, it “was cheaper” as a bonus of a $67 monthly club. I do not join membership sites. I find that they do not work for my learning style and I am leery of giving any one person that much of my fledging company’s budget. In my calculations, I would have paid paid at least $67 to get the $37 product I really wanted plus a bunch of stuff that I wasn’t yet interested in or ready for….. My concern is this: when I emailed PsyTech, my question as to whether or not the product could be acquired as a standalone was not answered. Instead, I was offered a cheaper monthly rate with no questions asked about why I simply wanted that product. I believe that the “Membership” model that all the content producers are so focused on is very destructive because there is no way of telling whether or not you are leaving customers like me, who may want to go at a slower pace or who require more “stewing time,” don’t receive it nor do the sites gain the numbers they might have if they were not so focused on signing everyone up immediately to a monthly tab. I realize that it is highly desirable to have several thousand people paying a site operator $50-$70 a month. But I wonder how many thousands are being ignored by the tactics employed. I have removed several famous names from my inbox over the past year because they stopped teaching in their “free” teaser eletters and simply reverted to shilling for every membership site that came along. I have also removed any that do not offer stand alone products that I can absorb and use at my own pace. While I don’t doubt Psy Tech’s credentials, I do doubt their value to me when all I receive from them is pushy, high pressure sales tactics. When new FTC rules go into effect, Internet Marketers are going to need to be more careful than ever. Please tell your students that the Feds are very aware of how much money they are making….and of how much money they don’t have. Your students, associates and everyone else are sitting ducks if they think that the excuse of “oh, you received an old autoresponder message” is going to appease them. Old is a month old, not four months old.


    Quantella Owens

    1. Quantella,

      Glenn is THE most conscientious marketer I know. He makes me look like Careless Joe by comparison.

      I shudder to think how many AR messages I’ve got with some out of date item.

      I unreservedly endorse Glenn, he will treat you right and his office will straighten this out.


  9. Great post Perry. I really enjoy your stuff and your faith.

    I have a patent pending for a new kind of Stirling cycle heat engine, the “Delta Configured Stirling Engine and Heat Pump”(c) that Massive Nibble(c) will be marketing as the “Zero Pollution Engine”(TM). I’ve been trying for about 3 years to find $10,000 to build a prototype that should only weigh about 200 lbs. and make about 700 hp! The engine will be solar powered with renewable fuel backup for use at night and on cloudy days. On a sunny day, you’ll be able to go wherever you want without fuel expense or creating any air pollution. So will trucks, airplanes, boats, etc.

    I have a moral obligation to bring the engine to market. There is no way that I’m smarter than all the engineers at NASA, GM, Philips, etc. The only explanation for how I came up with the design is divine inspiration. Yahweh blessed me with the idea, now I’m going to do my best to bless all of mankind with it.

    I intend to set up a charitable trust and use at least 20% of profits to benefit people in need. I’m a great believer in doing good works and it has always come back to me in ways that were too perfect to be coincidence. Three cases in point: 1) I needed cabinets and a friend of the family showed up with a flatbed truck full of cabinets he’d just removed from a house he was tearing down. 2) I needed bushings for my low-power prototype and when I called igus(R) in Rhode Island about using their iglide(R) bushings, they sent me $80 worth for free. 3) I begged (almost) every CAD/CAM program company I could find, for software to help me perfect my designs and make pictures of engines that didn’t yet exist. Autodesk sent me Inventor 2010 and Showcase 2010 through their CleanTech Partners Program after Jason Barnett at Advanced Solutions in Indy told them we were trying to bring solar-powered engines to market. That’s over $9,000 worth of software.

    Cheerful giving pleases Yahweh. Prayer also works, especially when it’s not selfish, but intended to benefit others.

    Keep up the good work,
    Michael Howard, Servant of Yahweh
    R&D, General Manager
    Massive Nibble
    P.O. Box 5
    Knightstown, IN 46148
    [email protected]

  10. Perry, truer words were never spoken (first time ever that I use this phrase).

    Great stuff and judging from all the responses, many of us can relate.

    All the best,


  11. Thanks Perry!

    This is a beautiful and timely message – thanks for taking the time to write it.

    You reminded me of a show I saw recently – the one about the family who runs a pawn shop in Las Vegas. There was a man there pawning his motorcycle so he could meet payroll.

    This life can be financially scary quite often, but I would never trade it for 9 to 5 and paycheck. How awful to know that you would be limited in that way!

    I loved seeing the giving numbers, but was not at all surprised.

    Thanks again!

  12. Thank you for the excellent point and truth.

    I am reminded of the passage in Luke “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”

    To work as an entrepreneur requires drive, ambition, discipline and talent. To be so richly blessed and acquire success, then ignore others would be a short-coming of great magnitude in my mind. It sometimes takes root in other than $$$.

    You Perry, inspire me with your truths and encouragements.

    “You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” Dale Carnegie
    “The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement. Yet, almost no one gets the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential. If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond our wildest dreams.” Sidney Madwed, Poet and Philosopher

  13. reminds me of a statement from Brian Tracy that said in effect: “the well being of any (city, state, country, etc.) can be determined by way they treat their Entrepreneurs, if they honor and encourage them, it will do well, if they vilanize them, it will perish”.

  14. Great post and really great comments. Being an entrepreneur can smack you down and around sometimes, and for many, because of our culture, it just doesn’t work. As Perry has alluded to before, I think many of us were the ones that kicked against the norms of society and never quite fit in. It’s a passionate and compassionate group.

    I think now, more than ever, we need entrepreneur advocates. We need to speak up and speak out for entrepreneurship and teaching vital skills, and the mindshift, to many who need it. This eloquently speaks to that need – watch the video.

    “We are all entrepreneurs…..Some lucky ones find out. Human beings are endowed with endless potential. Most don’t get to unwrap the gift that they carry with them.” http://tiny.cc/ntgUI

  15. This is one of the best “personal development” pieces I have seen for a while. Everyone talks about getting rich easy so we buy their stuff.You remind us that it is our faith that carries us through these tough times of getting started. Thank you.

  16. This has been the best email I’ve had this entire year. I thank you for this “uplift” (bad English maybe,but you know what I mean)
    Thanks Perry!

  17. Perry,

    Wow, I appreciate the your post Perry.

    My name is John and I’m a member of your mastermind club. I live in Thailand now after leaving the UK for broader horizons which is a long story in itself.

    I have been living with my Thai partner (female) for 5 years and your article seems to meet my situation exactly. Both my own and partners lives are ok, and my girl now has a farming business she has her family run in North Eastern Thailand (we worked together to earn the money to buy the land and small tractor)- this feeds the family including mum and sisters family with 4 children and husband. Also the neighbors and dogs, cats, rats, snakes,whatever comes along etc…(joke but probably true). Sister is a hard worker, she tends to the land, bought for my girl days after giving birth to her children.

    I personally have been in debt (which entrepreneur hasn’t?) and I have been for some time more or less. The money towards the farmland could have paid off half of my debt however the small amount I invested into my girls land I knew was supporting something bigger than me. It was going towards supporting a whole family of good, albeit very poor people.

    Some of my less generous friends used to ask if im doing the right thing. My answer is this (giving the money earned in my business by both myself and my girl is a small price to pay for positive Kalma. I have the confidence to pay my own bills later, because I know that what I make now is nothing in comparison to what I can earn – and I truly believe when the time comes it will come quickly. I simply keep investing my time into something I love doing (although I would like more time to learn how to cook splendid foods) this is something I plan on doing once my business is earning plenty and semi-automated. I don’t mean to sound cliché when I say that, “To me – It’s not a matter of IF, its a matter of WHEN. And when the time comes, the small price paid towards my girls farmland to farm foods and crops to feed poor children, is nothing in comparison to the naks calling”. Yet, the little I gave when times were hard gives me the feeling that one day I may look back upon my years and say to myself John! You did a good thing – you made a difference to people’s lives. And to me, that is what really counts. I will succeed or I will die trying (happily)!

    Thank you for inspiring me to write this reply Perry, you inspire me and im sure many others. To me, that is a purpose and a gratifying one at that.

    You do make a difference and I thank you for it.


    1. John,

      Thank you for your shining example, and to everyone today who has told stories of giving. And remember, your expertise and your experience are often more valuable than anything you have in the bank.


  18. Thanks for the great, great post Perry! The entrepreneurial life is definitely a ride on the roller coaster and we’ve been down in a big dip recently. We entrepreneurs are very unappreciated, and when the creditors are calling every day and the light at the end of the tunnel seems a little dimmer, it’s good to know that someone else knows what we’re going through too.

    Made my day!

    1. My husband forwarded this to me, and I have already sent it to a few clients who are also entrepreneurs. I printed this out and will hang it up next to me to keep me inspired. Thank you! Posted just at the perfect time.

  19. Hi Perry,

    Great post! And what a great example of abundance by the entrepreneur community. It really begs the question of how businesses become villains to the public? Talk about an image problem!


  20. 8 years ago I founded a startup with 5 friends. We got money from several angles and a VC. And as is the case with the overwhelming majority of startups…we tried to sell the wrong things to the wrong people and lost all the investment plus $300,000 we didn’t have.

    At that point 3 of the 5 founders ‘vanished’ as did the VC and all the angles bar one.

    But I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving all our suppliers and employees in the cold. So I loaned money from friends and family, convinced the angel that was still around to put some more money into the company, downsized our product and turned to internet marketing (you know, that ppc and landing pages stuff).

    And now 4 years later I am not rich. Not even close to rich but … I have paid back every single cent we owed. The company is selling more than a million dollars worth of products every year, is growing in a double digit rate and employs 8 people.

    It has been very tough to bring the company this far and throughout the process my ex-partenrs (especailly the VC) fought me every step of the way.

    And to top that, now that the company is actually worth something, everybody ‘knows’ better than me what to do next.

    This is the life of the entrepreneur and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Loved your post,

  21. Thank you. This seems very similar to me to those who want to condemn capitalism, not knowing that that is exactly where their jobs came from.

    Great post, and the bottom was very timely.
    Thanks again.

  22. Perry that is one of my favorite posts you have ever written and I’ve been following you for a while. I’ve argued this point with some of my employee friends that want to own their own business. I even take it a step further and say, “Demonstrate that you want to do something more with your life and successful people will appear out of nowhere to lend you a helping hand.”
    I appreciate you as well Perry.

  23. It’s funny how the TRUTH (re: the IRS data) is so drastically different than widely-believed myths.

    Like entrepreneurs are greedy, etc.

    It’s downright scary that notions like that (usually subtly implied by the media and public-at-large) somehow become universal “truth”.

    And on top of that – don’t people realize that without entrepreneurs there would be no JOBS?

    (We can’t all work for the government…)

    Thanks for the salute, Perry.



  24. Thank you Perry, I have had a very thought time lately, and I was thinking about quit… your message arrived and….Thank you, just Thank you.

  25. I too have big belief in giving to receive.
    These days, whenever i feel a bit down or business feels a bit tight, I give some £ to an individual or charity that has less than I.

    Every time.. something turns up, contracts, new business whatever.

    It must be working. We are having our best year ever as a business. And we have just signed our largest ever contract (£ 6-figures)

    exciting times.

  26. Perry, I think this might be your best post ever. You hit the exact conversation going on in my head right now.

    Today I just unburied myself from a backlog of support tickets due to a big glitch in a computer system overseas, spent all day yesterday helping another family with their home-based business, am quite behind on getting a new keyword database product rolled out, and have other concerns weighing on me.

    But someone it will all come together as it has in the past. Your words were both realistic and encouraging. Thanks.

  27. Perry,

    Great reminder to all that the entreprenuer, business owner and struggling businesses all over appreciate that someone is looking out for them. I am a believer in the old adage: “it is better to give than to receive”. It fits very appropriately in these times. Think of the feeling you get inside your gut when you know that you made a difference in someone’s life. I like the feeling and wish I could do more.

    Keep up the good work that you do, I for one, appreciate your thoughts and insight very much.



  28. Just recently I was coaching an entrepreneur and asked her what her biggest goal was. With no hesitation, she replied, “Security. I want to grow the business enough so I can feel secure.”

    I then asked if she thought employees felt security because they were working for large firms. “Of course they do.” I reminded her of Enron, Arthur Andersen, MCI and a few other large firms that had failed.

    I also reminded her of the words of Gen. MacArthur, “There is no security on earth. Only opportunity.”

    Entrepreneurs have security once they realize that they create their future. They control their destiny. Of course we have temporary setbacks. But if we made it once, doing it again is easier.

    I think we also know more intimately what it is like to be in need, therefore we are very willing to lend a hand. We also know it comes back ten fold.

  29. Perry,

    Let’ not forget that money is all we can give away… Some of the information you have given us is worth more than if you would’ve given us a thousands dollars.

    Thanks to you I’m able to stay in business and that’s worth much much more than money… it’s freedom!

  30. Wow – Perry, you nailed it with this post. I actually forwarded it to my wife to help her understand why I’m always the last to be paid, behind our employees and our vendors.

  31. Perry,
    Thank you for yet another inspiring post. Your posts always seem to come when needed, when in the midst of a conflict, like the ones you mention. Mine: “How am I paying my mortgage ‘this’ month?’ Not as in a drama statement, but as in life has never been as mobilizing and exciting.
    I found the ‘charitable giving’ numbers surprising and your abundance/scarcity explanation inspiring.
    I have been pondering for sometime the “dilemma of the breathing mask”, you know, the instructions they give you at the beginning or the flight before the plane takes off. For a while I found it selfish to put on the mask first before helping others. For a while, in a covert conceit, I disagreed with it. Now I understand that in order to be able to help others (including charitable contributions), I must have the capacity to do so, which means, I must be able to take care of my most fundamental concerns first.
    Perry, how does that fit into the entrepreneurial stance to “take care of everybody else before we worry about ourselves”?

    1. Ernest,

      GREAT question. When you’re sitting in an airplane and you’re breathing and you’re just fine, then you’re healthy and functional.

      You can’t help ANYONE be healthy and functional if you’re dead.

      You have to take care of your personal health and safety. You can’t shred yourself into a strand of yarn trying to help other people. Many times you have to decide where to draw the line and that’s your decision to make. You need working capital. You can’t sell your assets to the point of killing the goose that makes the golden egg.

      I always liked the proverb, “The best thing you can do for the poor is not be one of them.”

  32. I have been enjoying your material for years, but this post prompted me to leave my first comment. Being an entrepreneur brings the highest highs and the lowest lows…but one thing is for certain: We are good people who not only love what we do, but also love to share the love. Thank goodness for entrepreneurs!

  33. I am not an entrepreneur (but my job means I need to understand all methods of promotion on the web) but am married to one. This was a wonderful post which I felt uplifted by as I read it. Nor am I a “bible” person although I cherish “goodness” in all its facets, whenever I see it.

  34. Perry – I like to think that entrepreneurs are unsung heroes. Some men earn honor on the battle field, and I am grateful for them. They deserve more honor than they receive.

    And then there are entrepreneurs, unsung heroes. Some of us are never given the chance to earn honor by sacrificing our very lives in service to a country…but we quietly sacrifice our comforts, our finances and stability, our approval from family and friends, our leisure time…all in the pursuit of something greater – a call to a wild adventure, to make life better for others, for our country, and for ourselves.

    I salute entrepreneurs!

  35. Excellent post Perry…

    It’s nice to know that many people like us are
    going through or have gone through the same process at least once in their lifetime.

  36. Hourly wage earners place their faith in a “good company with good benefits.” Entrepreneurs put their faith in their God given brain and their own two hands and the people around them. Hourly wage earners are afraid their “good company” will fail, they will lose their job and they will need government support. Entrepreneurs KNOW there are more great ideas and more knowledge and more resources than they could ever use up. ‘Nuff said. Thanks for giving and sharing a few good words about entrepreneurs Perry.

  37. Perry, thanks for this. I am not really a “bible” person per se, but the book I’m currently reading (Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth — GREAT book BTW) reminds us that “As You Give, So Will You Receive.”

    I think a lot of us forget this especially when we’re bombarded by all media about how bad things are all the time. Just another reason to obsess about work rather than the news.


  38. great words Perry,
    I made my first mill by 32 as an entrepreneur,
    got screwed out of it by 34,
    made my second by 40
    lost that,
    made my third
    and recently lost that too,
    as a lifelong entrepreneur,
    Ive started several businesses and made millions for others along the way,
    I recently watch Tony Rs video about being generous, like he invented it!
    In the good years I have always given as much as I could,
    But in lean years like this one I’d like to be the one receiving the turkey not giving it.
    here’s to better years for all us entrepreneurs!

  39. Hey Perry,

    Great post…

    I have been making GIVING a priority for years (even when I had debt) and I honestly beleive that by doing so I was able to become debt free sooner. Just feels like the more you GIVE the more you RECEIVE.

    Take Care,

  40. “I don’t know what problem you face today, but I know that one of two things is true:

    1) Someone somewhere has already solved it, or
    2) The ability to solve it WILL be given to you”

    Reminds me of this quote:

    “Isn’t it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so that we could discover them!” — Orville Wright

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